The More Things Change…
The strongest suite for an older worker is still Experience
Let’s be honest. Younger applicants bring a lot to the table: enthusiasm, energy, fresh perspectives, creativity, up-to-date technology, etc. That’s all well and good, but for many (if not most) employers, they need something more.
And despite all the changes in the economy and the job search process, when all is said and done, the older worker’s strongest suite remains: experience. And the best news for this seasoned demographic, is that there is only one way to get experience… and you can’t do it overnight.
It takes years, even decades to build up the kind of experience that you bring to the table. It’s all good for you, but you need to play that card and play it hard.
When you’re talking about hard skills – i.e. tactical work such as accounting, sales, etc. – that’s easy… and obvious. You can probably produce work samples and/or real-world accounts of how you’ve used and developed those skills. What’s not so obvious is making the same case for your mastery of the soft skills.
Acccording to thebalancecareers.com, “Soft skills are non-technical skills that relate to how you work. They include how you interact with colleagues, how you solve problems, and how you manage your work… Soft skills relate to how you work. Soft skills include interpersonal (people) skills, communication skills, listening skills, time management, and empathy, among others.”
While some younger candidates may posses many soft skills, they still can’t hold a candle to what you’ve acquired through years on the job, working, interacting with people, developing relationships, etc. Once again, your experience is the ultimate trump card.
Whatever that potential employer is looking for – be it enthusiasm, ability to adapt, working with employees of all ages, types, etc., you know you can do it, because you’ve done it before. No matter how they slice it and dice it, you’ve been there, done that.
The value in that kind of experience is almost incalculable. Use it to the best of your ability.